A humble beginning led to a lifetime of memories for one of Briercrest’s first students.
“I don’t know if it’s much of a story . . .” a humble Walter Gregor disclosed seconds before launching into a memorable conversation about the early days of Briercrest Bible Institute (BBI). In fact, Gregor was among the first students to experience Briercrest in its infancy.
Arriving in the village of Briercrest at the mere age of 14, Gregor attended the local high school in the fall of 1944. He spent his first couple years attending the high school before BBI purchased an airbase in Caron, Sask. in 1946.
“We were the first class to land on our feet in the new school in Caronport,” Gregor proudly reports.
Gregor remembers his experiences at BBI with an air of fondness, from washing dishes to his memories of dormitory life. Because the war had just ended, BBI became overrun with a number of young people from the military, and Gregor vividly remembers young men garbed in army jackets and boots in his dormitory. Of course, dorm life was nothing like what Briercrest students experience today. Gregor paints a picture of the dormitories as military barracks, designed more like wings.
“So we had a lot of roommates,” Gregor chuckled.
His laughter is infectious as he remembers a common prank played by the boys in his dorm.
“We slept on bunk beds and sometimes the guys would . . . loosen the hooks and you'd jump up to go into bed on the top bunk and you'd come right through to the bottom, mattress and all.”
That’s not the only fond memory Gregor has at BBI; he also speaks quite passionately about the time he spent playing hockey.
“Hockey was right up on the top of our list. When we were called out as an all-star team, we felt pretty good.”
Of course, hockey during the 1940’s looked very different than it does now.
“We had homemade ice and we didn't have any pads,” Gregor admits, “but we sure could play hockey.”
Although Gregor was only able to attend BBI for one year because of financial concerns, the school remained a significant part of his life from then on. He managed the store in Caronport for several months, and served on the advisory committee a number of years later.
BBI, for Gregor, became a pivotal place for his family as well. His own brothers and sister also attended the school. Additionally, as a result of somebody he knew from Briercrest, he met his wife in Regina, and later had a daughter, who also attended Briercrest.
Needless to say, Briercrest has played a significant role in Gregor’s own life and family.
“It's something we'll never forget.”
Gregor speaks with a real sense of the love he has for the school, and of the blessing it has been to be involved in small ways.
“To watch the school grow over the years has been phenomenal, and we had a little part in that as we went along, and that was neat.”
Gregor has been a faithful donor to Briercrest College and Seminary over the years, a place he describes as being full of memories and growth. He hopes young people today will have the same positive and life-changing experiences as he had.
“It certainly was the start of my life and in my walk with the Lord as well,” he concludes. “It's an experience you will never forget.”